The ‘SG Wireless Indoor Asset Tracking Solution Kit’, launched by Hong Kong-based IoT technology solutions company, SG Wireless, can be used to track assets in real time across pre-defined zones. Powered by Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5.3/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC), the solution tells users in which zone a particular asset is located or has been moved to. The company states the system provides a sensing accuracy of 98 percent in 3 m-radius zone areas. One Kit can cover a floor area of up to 500 square meters.
Each SG Wireless Indoor Asset Tracking Solution Kit contains eight ‘SGW8130C BLE Beacon Tags’ and four ‘SGW6008C BLE-WiFi Gateways’ for tracking eight assets across four zones on a web-based IoT application. Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC is employed in proprietary, pre-certified ‘SGW1110 BLE Modules’ integrated in both the Beacon Tags and the Gateways. Both devices use the nRF52840’s 2.4 GHz multiprotocol radio (also supporting Bluetooth 5.3, Long Range, Bluetooth mesh, ANT™, Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, NFC, and proprietary 2.4 GHz RF protocol software) which features 8 dBm output power and -95 dBm RX sensitivity for a link budget of 103 dBm. This link budget enables good range for extended coverage for indoor asset tracking applications, for example tracking hospital, warehouse, and factory assets.
SGW8130C BLE Beacon Tags are attached to the assets that require tracking, with one Tag per asset. Each Tag broadcasts a unique Bluetooth LE data message to be picked up by the Gateways. The Tags broadcast every five seconds to optimize battery life. As the SGW6008C BLE-WiFi Gateway receives the Bluetooth LE data messages from its surrounding Tags it determines the signal strength. The Gateways send all data via Wi-Fi to the associated web application, where the information received is aggregated and processed through a proprietary algorithm to determine the zones in which each Tag, and therefore the corresponding asset, is located. Users can instantly locate a valuable asset through the web application on their PC or via their smartphone. In addition, users can gain a more thorough understanding of asset utilization rates, enabling business optimization through better planning of asset maintenance, repair, and necessary replacement.
The nRF52840 SoC’s embedded 64 MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) performs as a host on the SGW6008C Gateway to directly forward data between Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi without requiring additional processing. The SoC’s generous 1 MB Flash and 256 KB RAM memory allocation allows for storage and caching of large amounts of data.
The SGW6008C Gateway is mains-powered through a micro-USB interface, while the SGW8130C Beacon Tags run on a CR2032 coin cell battery that can provide up to three million location updates over a period of up to three years, thanks in part to the ultra low power operating characteristics of the Nordic nRF52840 SoC.
“Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC is arguably the most well-rounded and cost-effective solution in the Bluetooth LE class for its size,” says Ken Wong, CTO at SG Wireless. “The SoC’s Arm Cortex M4 processor and adequate on-chip memory eliminate the need for additional processing chips for advanced IoT applications, which has enabled our company to develop a compact yet powerful Bluetooth LE module.
“Moreover, reference codes from Nordic’s comprehensive SDK [Software Development Kit] have undoubtedly shortened the product development cycle.”